Internet Explorer 10 faces chopping block, as Microsoft discontinues more legacy software

Microsoft is fixing a support quandary of their own creation by backporting IE11 to Windows 8 Embedded and Server 2012, though it already available for Windows 7.

Windows 10's troubled 1809 update is headed your way after months of fixing showstopping bugs Windows 10 computers started receiving the new version of the OS via Windows Update yesterday, marking the beginning of a phased rollout to the bulk of PCs used in homes and by small businesses.

Support for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 10 will officially end in January 2020, Microsoft announced on Monday. IE10 was introduced as the default browser on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and was replaced with IE11 upon the release of Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2. In the interest of pushing Windows 8 users to a (free) upgrade to Windows 8.1, IE11 was never made available for Windows 8 or Server 2012, despite being available on Windows 7.

Though Windows 8 reached end-of-life in January 2016, Microsoft will support Windows 8 Embedded and Windows Server 2012 until Q4 2023, creating a support problem entirely of Microsoft's own creation—either backport IE11 (which, practically, is already done), or support IE10 for four more years.

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Internet Explorer 11 is itself a zombie product, which continues to run purely to please enterprise groups running web applications designed to work only in IE's compatibility mode for their nonstandard HTML implementation, or for the also-dead Microsoft Silverlight. Edge, the default browser in Windows 10 intended to replace Internet Explorer, is now a non-product, as the internally developed EdgeHTML and Chakra engines which powered it are being dumped in favor of Google's open-source Chromium project, which powers Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave browsers in addition to Google's own Chrome browser.

Microsoft's everything-as-a-monoculture mindset prompted Kenneth Auchenberg, a developer of Visual Studio Code at Microsoft, to declare on Twitter that Mozilla should follow suit in adopting Chromium "if they really cared about the web," and that the not-for-profit browser maker should "get down from their philosophical ivory tower," in comments that were swiftly derided by Google engineers, technology press, and longtime Mozilla employee Asa Dotzler, who stated that "Just because your employer gave up on its own people and technology doesn't mean that others should follow."

Windows Phone 10 Mobile, likewise, is set to reach end-of-life on December 10, 2019, with apps from Microsoft and third parties drop support for the platform. Microsoft temporarily broke Outlook Mail and Calendar on the platform last November.

Microsoft also announced the end of metadata services for Windows Media Player on Windows 7, and all versions of Windows Media Center, the primarily home theater PC interface that was deprecated in Windows 8 and discontinued with Windows 10.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Microsoft announced the end of support of Internet Explorer 10, which was the last version of IE available for Windows 8 Embedded and Server 2012.
  • Microsoft's attempts at revitalizing their browser strategy have fallen firmly flat, with the company adopting Chromium to replace their homegrown EdgeHTML engine.

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By James Sanders

James Sanders is a technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.